Connor Wickham is 'relishing' facing his former club
Wickham in a Palace shirt (photo: cpfc.com)

Crystal Palace host Sunderland this evening, and one man is looking forward to locking horns with his old club.

Connor Wickham swapped the North-East for the South-East this summer as he completed a £9m move to Crystal Palace in the hope of realising his potential.

Although his time in South London has been hampered by injury so far, the former Ipswich youngster is hoping he has found the right club in Palace.

At Sunderland it never quite worked out as he was either played out of position, or was shipped out on loan to get game time. So the encounter tonight at Selhurst has huge significance for Wickham.

Speaking to the Daily Express last week, Wickham said that Sunderland were the "one team I've looked forward to playing against" since his arrival at Palace.

Wickham says Sunderland fans were quick ‘to judge’

It was a hard time up north for Wickham; coming from Ipswich where he was regarded as a potential star, in the red and black of Sunderland he never quite lived up to that billing.

And when asked about the prospect of the Sunderland fans booing him, Wickham was undeterred, saying: "(Being booed) doesn't bother me. From the stands everybody plays a perfect game of football. Nobody makes mistakes from the stands.”

He continued saying: "I don't know what the Sunderland fans were expecting. They were quick to judge." Adding that he wasn't playing in his "natural position", Wickham clearly didn't appreciate his treatment at the Stadium of Light.

Wickham did have a role to play

What Sunderland fans might forget is that Wickham played a big role in keeping the Black Cats up in 2014, as he scored five goals in six matches.

"They said I never scored and this, that and the other. But I scored when I played as a central striker,” said the 22-year-old.

But at Palace, Wickham believes he has found the perfect manager in Alan Pardew to help him realise his potential.

"I believed in myself and thought I had managers that believed in me, too. If four years ago I had the manager I've got now, it would have been a different story,” said Wickham.

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